Bill Nighy Plays Himself And Gives Those Evil Americans/Israelis One In The Eye..

Bill Nighy, wooden, crinkled and oozing bus pass angst, meets up with earnest young woman (Rachel Weisz, born 1970!). Nighy, as per usual, autocues his lines in a monotone to nobody in particular, is hardly ever out of his overcoat and sacrifices his career and pension to flag up the evil Americans.

You’ve guessed it – “Page Eight” (BBC2 28/08/11) another glossy drama of beautiful people in NW1 (and weekend rural retreats) pumping out a subliminal version of the eternal and unchanging BBC philippic against capitalism, America (pre Obama, of course) and those vicious, conniving Je…whoops….Israelis.

Written by Richard Curtis David Hare, the storyline is as predictable as a Tom & Jerry cartoon. Public School/Oxbridge educated MI5 boss hands Public School/Oxbridge educated MI5 agent (Nighy) a file fingering UK PM as the The Evil One Covering Up US Rendition. Said agent discovers his next door neighbour had a boy friend killed by Israeli soldiers while innocently protecting defenceless Hamas protestors. This has also been covered up by the same UK PM.

Usual ending of any Nighy drama….he forces UK PM to publish the truth about the evil Israelis in return for remaining schtum about rendition. Nighy then heads off into the sunset until the next BBC drama.

Production values – AAA+
Characterisation – pure unadulterated cardboard
Message – BBC Goebbels TV at its most blatant


Has anyone been watching the BBC1 drama Criminal Justice (running every night this week)? Critics are mostly raving about it, because the cast – led by the marvellous Maxine Peake – are first rate. There’s no doubt, too, that ex-barrister Peter Moffat, the writer, has considerable story-telling skills. But one aspect of it stinks to high heaven. As in almost every BBC drama that I can think of (apart, perhaps, from Waking the Dead), the coppers in it are portrayed as both idiotic and corrupt. Andrew Billen, in the Times, put it very well:

Are we expected to believe that policemen still remark in a solictor’s hearing that she has “nice tits” or that a senior officer encourages a suspect to make a confession after her lawyer has left or that he instructs a PC to lie about where they both were for a crucial hour?Even Moffat did not seem happy with having his wicked DI Chris Sexton baldly deny that rape within marriage is possible, a fallacy beaten out of coppers’ heads by any number of consciousness-raising workshops in the past decade.

I am not as sure as Billen that there aren’t cops who still think like this, and I also hate the way the police have become agents of political correctness gone mad. But one thing is certain: in the BBC’s world, cops are mostly incorrigibly bad, even when it makes their otherwise powerful dramas look idiotic and far-fetched.